Foot and mouth & british farmers
Like everyone who has a strong association with the countryside, I am being affected by the foot and mouth epidemic. I am very lucky that it has only been necessary to cancel a few bookings at yards or on farms where sheep, cattle, pigs or deer are kept, but I do know of saddle fitters in the south west or up in Cumbria whose livelihoods are at stake.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. There are very, very few rurally-located businesses that aren't affected, some to a greater, some to a lesser extent. The knock on effects are severe and pitiless and influence businesses, large and small, including those with no or only tenuous associations with farming or tourism.
We are all deeply affected by the plight of the farmers and saddened by the bad press relating to our farming methods and animal husbandry. Yes, of course there are instances of malpractice, cruelty, playing the system and general abuse. Nevertheless, it is a fact that British farming practices are amongst the best, if not, the best in the world.
Let us all unite in support of the British farmers and by association, our countryside. We Brits always demonstrate our best facets when our backs are against the wall!
Adapted from articles recently published in The Essex Rider magazine